Earlier that morning my body
gave clear signs that “this was the day” I would give birth to my first child.
My client had waited for months for her court date. She was desperate for child
support, this was the day, and I was determined there be no further delay.
It was September 20, 1983,
well before the era of cell phones for every day living. It was the afternoon
before I connected with my husband and we made our way from downtown to the
hospital. One caesarean section and ten days later, I was back to work with my
newborn baby in tow. My small office had a reception area, my office, and a
room for the baby.
My penchant for being both
hardy and hard working no doubt took a toll on my children. So did my marriage.
So did my divorce. There are plenty of times in my life as a mom that I would
have loved to have had a “do over.” No
parent wants to cause harm to their child.
When it comes to the divorce
experience, few things worry parents more than the impact on their children.
Will they be safe when I am not with them?
Will they be anxious from a changing schedule? Will they be able to
trust that a happy marriage is possible? Countless sleepless nights and
thousands of dollars are spent with the intention of doing what’s best for our
children during divorce.
They say that how people
remember experiences in their life is by averaging the worst moment and the
ending. When it comes to divorce with children, a focus on the “worsts” is
easy. The time they overheard you arguing about cost of summer camp. The time
you threatened to send them to the other parent because they threw a tantrum.
The time you called the new girlfriend a skinny little slut.
We may forget all of the
great parenting we did most of the time. And when it comes to the “ending” of a
divorce, when children are involved it’s hard to know just when that is.
Thirty years after that
eventful September day I find myself celebrating once more. I celebrate the
good decisions I made, the learning from the bad decisions I made, and the
remarkable capacity of my children to transcend my mistakes along the way.
That baby turns thirty
tomorrow. He’s well educated, a world traveler, physically fit, spiritually
devout, active in his community, and the kind of son who sends sweet
handwritten notes to his mother. That’s an ending worth celebrating.